Now, I don’t want this to be a serious blog, nor a “woe is me” article. Anyone that knows me, and knows of my condition knows I don’t feel sorry for myself, at least, I try not to. And I know many other people who are also living with invisible illnesses. This blog is to bring awareness, and hopefully try and make people stop and think before immediately judging people or giving them a hard time.
Most people won’t know, or realise this but….
So, how does an invisible illness affect me?
I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) in 2008 and due to the effect it has on my body, I have suffered with terrible anxiety for most of my life – or as it was once professionally diagnosed “self defeating personality disorder”. This is all because I have abnormal hormone levels due to my long term illness – one of the wonders of being female. Unfortunately, this can affect my general outlook, including normal, every day things like going out – feeling bad can make you just want to curl up in a ball and hide away, and also effects relationships, etc etc.
The sad truth is, when my body is working “normally” (whatever that is) I am the total opposite of that person – Many people that know me would describe me as fun loving, confident and mostly without a care in the world. Unfortunately it is a 50/50 state of affairs, and the people close to me (that get to see both sides) understandably find that very hard to deal with.
I won’t divulge into my symptoms, because i’m sure if anyone wants to know they will just ask me and it’s not something to tell the world about! But generally, I get away quite lightly compared to others and despite all of what I described, I lead a good, fulfilling life and I am very determined because of it.
So, what is an invisible illness?
Invisible illnesses are chronic illnesses and conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living. Approximately 96% of people with chronic medical conditions show no outward signs of their illness, and 10% experience symptoms that are considered disabling.
A chronic illness can hinder a person’s efforts to go to school, work, socialize, and more. Although the illness creates a challenge for the person who has it, the reality of it can be difficult for others to recognize or acknowledge, and even when they do know, they tend to forget about it quite quickly as it isn’t visible and therefore may not understand the cause of the problem, as they cannot see evidence of it in a visible way.
Here are some examples of invisible illnesses (by no means a complete list);
Allergies and Food In-tolerances
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Depression and Mental Illness
Diabetes and other Blood Sugar Issues
Digestive Disorders (such as; IBS, colitis, Celiac, etc.)
Headaches, Migraines, etc.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome